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Cave Diving Zone 3 Certificate


To instruct and qualify a certified Cave Diver (Zone II) in the techniques required for

  • Diving in overhead environments that do not have line of sight to the surface,
  • Where two divers cannot communicate at all points during the dive,
  • Where staged breathing gas may be required,
  • In a safe and controlled manner.


Cave diver (Zone III) is the final certification in a three-certification series that is designed to develop Cavern and Cave diving proficiency. Candidates are required to be comfortable in overhead environments. This certificate is intended to provide the basic information necessary for a Cave Diver (Zone II) to safely participate in cave diving or overhead environments without line of site to the entrance. Due to specialised equipment and safety requirements, caves should not be entered without the appropriate training. This certificate cover the techniques required for restricted and/or extended water-filled passages associated with cave diving. This certificate does not provide the candidate diver with the capability of diving beyond his or her existing depth qualification.


  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must submit the Technical Diving Medical certificate clearing the holder as fit to participate in underwater diving. A medical practitioner using the CMAS-ISA Technical Medical Examination form must have carried out the medical examination. The medical examination must have been carried out not more than 12 months previously.
  • Should not be a smoker.
  • Should not be using any prescription or otherwise drugs before or during the course, without the written consent of a qualified diving doctor.
  • Should be capable of swimming 25 metres underwater on a single breathhold.
  • Should be capable of swimming 200 metres in 10 minutes or less.
  • Must hold a CMAS-ISA Cave Diver (Zone II) certificate.
  • Must have carried out and logged at least 200 dives with a minimum depth of 10 metres and a duration of at least 30 minutes (except where the special nature of the dive precludes this on safety grounds) including:
    - 5 dives in water-filled passages, during which adequate buoyancy control is demonstrated.
    - 5 dives in water-filled passages, at least 2 of which are performed with the diver utilising staging equipment
  • To write the Cave Diver (Zone III) examination:
  • Must participate in a Cave Diver (Zone III) seminar overseen by a CMAS-ISA specially approved in-date Technical Instructor with the relevant qualifications and experience (Course Convenor).
  • To apply for the Cave Diver (Zone III) Certificate:
    - Must pass the theory examination, as set by the Course Convenor, or use an examination approved by the CMAS-ISA Technical Committee. A pass mark of 65% is compulsory. 
    - Must pass all the practical tests.
    - The candidate must have logged at least 3 cave dives as specified by the Course Convenor, during the course in the presence of the course instructor.
    - Must read the Code of Practice for Cave Diving, as issued by CMAS-ISA, and return a signed copy with the application for the certificate.


The seminar covers at least the following aspects:

  • Selection of diving gear to suit the overhead mission requirement.
  • Revision of Cave Diver (Zone II) theory.
  • Stage diving techniques and equipment.
  • Revision of decompression, including action to be taken in the event of omitted or shortened decompression.
  • Revision of diving accident management, with emphasis on drowning, air embolism and decompression sickness.
  • Lost line and lost buddy techniques.
  • Cave surveying techniques.


Parts 9, 10, 11 &12 must be completed within 1 year of writing the theory examination, failing which, parts 9 & 10 must be re-done. The above-mentioned prerequisites are the minimum required for the CMAS-ISA Cave Diver (Zone III) certificate.